Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota

A recent CBS morning news feature on Minnesota’s Northwest Angle caught my attention, remindingWe made it! copy me of our interesting and unique visit to the most northern port of Minnesota a few years ago.   The Northwest angle is that part of Minnesota but only shares a land border only with Canada. The rest of the Angle is part of large Lake of the Woods. We made it to the Angle directly from the west via Manitoba, traveling there by land requires leaving the United States, entering Canada, and then reentering Minnesota.

This unique geographic feature is the result of a mapping error by a mapmaker and erroneous ideas about the source of the Mississippi.  Now part of the Library of Congress Map collections, the Mitchell map depicts land as known in 1757 and when the Treaty of Paris was signed after the Revolutionary War.

US & Canadian customs copyOur favorite memory of visiting Angle Inlet is getting there by gravel road and stopping at Jim’s Corner, the customs checkpoint where we reported our arrival via videophone. The roadside stand reminded me of a telephone booth. Angle Inlet has a small post office, community store, and a modern one-room elementary school. Older students travel 60 miles to attend high school. Resorts offering lodging and recreation provide employment for the year-round residents and support the tourism industry.

Our visit to Angle Inlet was brief, but we learned a great deal about a local history, enjoyed a beautiful setting, and have great memories.

A map of the British and French dominions in North America, with the roads, distances, limits, and extent of the settlements, humbly inscribed to the Right Honourable the Earl of Halifax, and the other Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners for Trade & Plantations.   Library of Congress Map Collections

Minnesota’s Northwest Angle, an American oddity, CBS News, May 1, 2016. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/minnesotas-northwest-angle-an-american-geographic-oddity&gt;

Angle Inlet School is a one-room throwback. Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 30, 2015.

AngleInletSchool jpg

From Bluffs at Reads Landing, Minnesota looking down stream, 1885.

From Bluffs at Reads Landing, Minnesota looking down stream, 1885. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul Minnesota Reflections

Yesterday’s trip to the Reads Landing Brewing Company turned out to be a history lesson. We’ve driven through the Mississippi River town of Reads Landing countless times, but hadn’t ever turned off Highway 61. First stop: the Wabasha County Historical Society. The museum’s brochure describes the building, built in 1870, is the oldest schoolhouse in Minnesota. Initials of hundreds of students carved in the school’s walls. The museum’s old barn holds old agricultural machinery used in the early days of Wabasha County.

Reads Landing now is now home to 100 people, but in “its day “ as the landing spot for thousands of rafts hauling lumber down the Mississippi River. There were 17 hotels, 21 salons, and 15 stores.

A remaining brick storefront building is home to the Reads Landing Brewing Company. Like many businesses of its type, it has its own history and displays reproductions of historical photos on the walls. A window seat gave us a great view of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River dredging in action.  Reads Landing is a short drive from National Eagle Center in Wabasha.

Photo:  From Bluffs at Reads Landing, Minnesota looking down stream, 1885,  Henry Bosse, Creator. Minnesota Reflections, Minnesota Digital Library

Primary sources are all around us! What’s in your backyard? Teaching with Primary Sources, Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas starts Jan.23.

Minnesota ReflectionsEducator Guides to Minnesota Reflections are designed to help Minnesota educators and media specialists find and use the digital primary sources in the Minnesota Reflections Collections.   Guides are aligned with Minnesota standards in Social Studies, Math, Reading, the Arts, Family and Consumer Sciences and Service Occupations, Language Arts, and Sciences.   Each guide is linked to multiple primary sources and include a resource descriptions, guiding questions and teaching ideas.  Links to related resources and helpful tips are also included.

Topics represented in the 35 guides include Famous Minnesotans, Veterans Day, Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch, Housing and Interior Design, Visual History of Theater and Music Programs, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The guides were developed by teachers and media specialists from throughout Minnesota.   Guides went online in June and were shared at the annual Minnesota Digital Library Conference in St. Paul.  Additional guides will be online  this fall.

The CCC guide is designed to align with the Minnesota U.S. History Standard that addresses the Great Depression and New Deal. The focus is on the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps.   Students will observe, analyze and collaboratively discuss photographs of CCC camps and company projects to increase understanding of the contributions of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Northeast Minnesota.  Photo analysis will also help students understand  how Corps members lived.  A map is included to locate places depicted in the photos.

The activity also helps meet Media Literacy standards (Students will  engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly) and (Analyzing detail in diverse media and formats).

Civilian Conservation Corps, Company 714, near Houston

Civilian Conservation Corps, Company 714, near Houston

I included this panorama group portrait of  CC Company 714  near Houston  in a guide I developed because my uncle is in the group. The photo is typical of all company photos. How are the men dressed? What was the role of the men dressed in white?

All Minnesota Reflections Educator Guides

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